While access to public/government funded schools has grown over the years, the quality of teaching in many schools needs further improvement. Many schools today whether run by the public bodies or private,also lack proper infrastructure and teaching aids. Our endeavor has been to support and supplement the already existing avenues of learning/schools in our key communities. In this regard, we help impart remedial coaching, provide supplementary tutorials, enhance educational infrastructures, up-grade school buildings, create recreational facilities in schools and provide necessary reading & writing materials to needy students. We also provide scholarships to students in need. We have been working with a few NGOs in this regard including Pratham.
We are careful that children at our construction sites get the right type of opportunity and environment for studying. We believe that good Health and Education plays a major role in empowering people. Our educational development programmesat our construction sites or in the extended key communities ensures holistic development of the students with focus on the creation of a more evolved and nurturing environment. We achieve this by providing support and concentrating on areas like hygiene, sanitation, medical aid, and food, wherever required, so that learning becomes truly an enriching experience.
Our educational initiatives has been branded as SRIJAN for greater visibility among the stakeholders. Under SRIJAN the Company has touched more than 6400 students (including 2620 SC/ST candidates) in 34 schools across India. The activities undertaken include remedial coaching and school infrastructure development.
Street Children Education
During the Last financial year, we had sponsored the Street Children Centre of Hamara Foundation for for one year. The Centre has 72 children out of them 42 belong to SC category and the rest from OBC and the Centre is located under the Elphinstone Road Flyover Bridge. Many of our employee volunteers including Mr. Rajeevan Nair, Head-Legal, have visited the Centre and spent time with the children and taught them too. Our support was towards remedial coaching, notebooks, nutritional support, educational visit/picnic etc of all these 72 children for one year. We have evaluated the impact of our intervention and found it to be extremely satisfactory. The following table gives a comparison of the children’ performance between 2011-12 and 2012-13. It is clear that with our intervention the children’s academic performance has improved. Five students (four from SC category and one OBC) had appeared in Class X, all the five have passed and one has passed in A grade.
Running the open air Centre under the Flyover has not been an easy task. There are many issues including the frequent raid by the municipal authorities. Very often our blackboard, banner, chair, children’s notebooks and clothes are thrown out in the open by the authorities. Rain and storm very often makes our life miserable. But nothing prevents us from helping these children. Our social worker and teacher never lose their patience; they again scramble together the missing pieces, give children their moral support and start running the Centre gain. For us the future of these less privileged children is more important than anything else. We are happy to share you a few success stories. It may apparently look small and insignificant; but behind these ‘insignificant’ anecdotes lay buried the glittering hopes of these young children, please spare your time to read for a while.
Vitonde Tushar Kishore
Kishore is one of the children being supported by us. He has passed out class X from Maharashtra state board in June 2013, with 44 % marks. His is a story of struggle and success, though his journey has just begun and there are miles to go yet.
Ours have been a very small help and all that mattered was his grit, determination and indomitable spirit to achieve success in life. It only inspires us to do more. He studied in Gokhale Night School in Dadar sincerely after attending to a chorus of hard work every day. His day begins early in the morning as he finishes washing cars of the neighborhood housing society before 8 AM. Then he goes to the Dadar fish market and works as a loader in the fish-truck.The rest of the day he spends time with his father in helping him in doing small time flower vending on the footpath. In the afternoon he comes to our Centre for two hours from 2.30 to 4.30 PM. He belongs to scheduled caste (SC) sonar community and stays in the Jhupadi Patti, called Railway Chawl along the Elphinstone Road(West) station.
Our efforts, in partnership with Hamara Foundation, have been to help him in all possible manners. The teacher in our study class would help him solve mathematics and social worker Pratima would counsel parents not to give up his study despite all odds. The notebooks and uniforms provided by us were of great help to him as his father with a meager monthly income of Rs 5000 per month cannot afford this. We have also organized medical checkup of Kishore and our children in the Centre and have taken them in a picnic too during last year.
Kishore has recently joined in class eleven (Commerce) in the Social League college and would like to make a career in Accountancy. Tata Housing will continue to help pursuing his objective in life. All the best to Kishore!
PevekarHarshada Shankar (Dolly)
Dolly is a bright young girl and is another beneficiary of our Elphinstone Road Street children project. She has just passed out Class X from Maharashtra State Board in flying color with 77 percent marks. In a rare fit she has scored 105 out of 100 in Mathematics. She stays in a tarpaulin covered hutment at SainathJhupad Patti in Elphinstone (West) along the train line along with her mother and two siblings.
Her father was working as a house keeping staff in Dadar Big Bazar and died 4 years back in heart attack. Since then she is supporting her mother running the household. Her mother runs a tiny Pan/Bidi shop (total value of merchandise in her shop, I guess is less than five hundred rupees) in the Jhupadi Patti along the train line. She studied in St Thomas High School Vasai and whenever she could get time would attend the study class and other activities of our Centre. She belongs to SC(Chamar) Community. She has two brothers-one is younger studying class IX and other is a school drop-out. Her mother thanked Tata Housing for the support.
Nilam has passed class X this year with 52 % of marks from SharadaVidyaMandir School in Dadar. She has also lost her father four years back due to heart attack-a phenomenon prevalent in the community prone to poverty, alcohol, stress and unhealthy living conditions.
Her mother is a small time flower vendor and earns Rs 3500 to Rs 4500 per month. Nilam supports her mother in flower vending. She is a regular at our study Centre and her hard labour along with our efforts has helped her achieving success in the class X examination. She belongs to SC (Boudh) community. She has been admitted to VidyaMandir College for class Eleven in Commerce. We are keeping track of her academic requirements and will continue to help her in studies by all possible manners.
SainiSafal Kumar Indrajeet
Indrajeet had failedin Class X last year. This year he appeared again and with our support and his diligence he has passed Class X examination with 45 % marks. Indrajeet along with his parents a brother and a sister stays under the Elphinstone Bridge. To support his father’s meagerly income, he works daily in the fish market as a loader in fish trucks and often sells Chhas( butter milk drink) from an earthen pot on road sides. Since the roads are noisy, he goes to Sidhi Vinayak garden and studies there under street lamps…. Life has been very hard to him. We cannot change his life, but our very small efforts of helping him in study, giving him a pair of uniform, counseling him for mental strength and interacting with his teachers (He studied in Gold Mill School) for guidance have helped to some extent. He has now joined Central Railway College for studying in class eleven (commerce). We will continue to support and will not leave him alone in his struggle.